Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Faces of Sleep

As seasoned parents ... I got quite a kick outta this recent post I found on FB.
You may need to click on it to see if you can see it larger.
It's oh so TRUE! And I gotta think that if you are a parent you are going to identify with at least one of these cartoon boxes, if not all of them. Although they forgot my favorite, The "Mom is my pillow" move, which alternates with the "Mom is my kick-boxing target" move.
When Brayden (our first son) was little we were adamant that our bed was OURS ... it was some wisdom that was handed down to us from some pretty wise people and it was pretty sound advice to keep the new little one from taking over EVERY aspect of our married lives! Other than the bassinet next to our bed when he was new, we did not let him co-sleep ... okay, maybe once we were awake on a Saturday morning. And quite honestly, he wasn't one to be heart broken by that. In fact, I think back and he and Easton have always been the ones to cry out FROM their bed rooms for one of us (usually me) to come to them ... and not to come and snuggle in with us. (I've spent many a night half slung over a crib rail to pat a back or my head on a toddler bed mind you!)
However, I have seen a slow ebbing away from this through the years. Perhaps we're softening as parents. Maybe we're just tired. I suppose it could be the personalities of the boys. Well, Nolan is the true baby of the family and sometimes I wonder if he truly thinks he has a little bed for the first half of the night and a big bed for the other half. HA! (Okay, it's not quite that bad ... but there are streaks ...)

SO, when we drove out to Colorado recently and decided to take the 4wd truck we decided to take advantage of the ample cargo room. We made the WISE decision to throw in one very important piece of furniture! HIS bed!

We all slept SO much better in our own beds.
Best decision of the entire trip! (sorry I somehow cropped out the TOP of the bed)

And the funny part was when I started to pack up for the trek home Nolan wondered where we could possibly be going?! Since his bed was there, he had just assumed this was his new home I think!
It kinda worried me a little bit that he wouldn't be a little bit more sad about just picking up and moving in a heartbeat ... but I guess he felt secure in the fact that he had what mattered, US and his bed. And that's a good thing I guess.
(I was a bit relieved when we got home ... he was really happy to see our true home again! (whew!))

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Random, Pointless Ramblings of the Day

Because I still haven't heard back from the Doctor or the Cardiology Dept. who gave me a Holter monitor last week after I returned from Colorado with heart palpitations ... (it's been 8 days and they said it would be 2) ... I finally went for a little shopping therapy. 

Actually, I had a coupon that had to be used by March 1st and since I wasn't totally convinced it was Leap Year this year I didn't want to cut it too close to the deadline. (And wouldn't you know, I didn't miss any phone calls while I was out anyway.)

So I finally bought our new plates. 
Thank you everyone who weighed in an opinion! It was pretty much unanimous and I was REALLY glad you all liked this pattern better. I did too.
Ahhhhh! now I can serve you supper if you stop by and I won't have to try and hide the chips on the edges of the well-loved plates we received when we were married over a decade ago. (Hoping these are durable ... I have 3 boys that are coming of dishwashing age, gasp!)

And while I was@Pier1, I used my extra coupon to justify spending just a wee bit more on a little stuffed something for someone far away. I have someone particular in mind ... and just have had my eye on this little bear for awhile and it happened to be on sale today. I know totally impractical and who knows if they like or need bears. But sometimes it's just okay to buy a stuffed bear on a whim.

I think the saleslady thought I was crazy as I pulled each of the 12+ bears out of the bin and examined each one. "Wow, you really like those bears!" she mentioned, as I struggled to manage holding onto the ones in the "maybe pile" away from the "no" pile. As I explained to her, each one has a unique face with the way the paisley fabric print was cut and where the flowers ended up. I wanted just the right face. It was like I was opening up a whole new world for her. She obviously had never really "looked" at these bears before.
I chose the one with the swirl to the right of his eye and a groovy flower on it's forehead. Truly the prettiest one in the bunch. Overthinking on my part? Probably, but it was worth it.

And not to miss out on the stuffed animal photoshoot adventure, Nolan offered up that his frog really needed to be in a photo with the new bear. "So he could have a friend," he explained. I thought that was a nice thought. Who doesn't need a good friend when first in a new place?!
Hope that doesn't mean Ms. Bear is getting too comfy here or there go my plans, ha!

And also while @Pier1 
I spied the most adorable little statue ...
I'm not sure what it is about baby elephants, but they make me swoon, especially when it is a mother and baby elephant together. Although this one was paired with what might be a baby Buddha ... and I wasn't sure that would go over well with the family ... or with our already semi-established home decor and Christian home. It might send some mixed messages to the kids, ya know, about why we have a Buddha in our house. I like to think it is simply an adorable Asian baby boy, but left it at that and did not cave in buying it.



However, when I went next door to the Christian Bookstore I couldn't help but be captivated and swoon over another photo, this time of a mother and baby elephant. 

What is the deal with elephants and me right now? It just made me want to do the whole house in elephant theme.
I asked Nolan if we could perhaps get a baby elephant ...
He explained that, "no we couldn't because it would spray him with his trunk."
Well. That's that I guess.
Those are my rambling thoughts of the day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Return from Copper Mountain--The Holter DigiTrak Plus 24

We spent last week at Copper Mountain, Colorado, skiing with friends.

Nolan was SO excited about skiing and his FIRST pair of skis!

But he was NOT excited once we got to the ski hill and he realized that he had to move with those large flat planks strapped to his feet. 
He got downright frustrated. 
And then when he realized that they were meant to slide really fast downhill ... oh boy ... he was somewhere between thrilled and terrified.
I'm sure that will warrant a post of its own down the road.

I'm still a bit behind with unpacking and trying to catch up on emails and regular mail ... 
The high altitude really left me in a tailspin. Of course there were headaches all around all week on and off for the boys and me (Jeff is a tank and seems unaffected by about everything.) And Nolan even threw up once again right when we got there, luckily NOT in the car this year ... but then there was a new problem when my heart started missing beats.
It got kinda scary by Thursday night when I finally mentioned it to Jeff after hoping for a few days that it was just my imagination and that it would go away. (Typical heart attack victim mentality) 
It was simply good to wake up the next morning.
Ug.
So ... yesterday with the problem continuing to worry/anger/frustrate me even now that I'm back in the flatlands of the MidWest, I headed to the Urgent care, had an ekg and now a Holter monitor to try to determine if this is "normal" or something to really be concerned about.
I'm hopeful that they will find out that my ticker plans to beat quite strong for another 60 years or so and that there are just a few deep things on my heart that make it beat more passionately at times. (And believe me there are.)

But aside from the Holter DigiTrak-Plus 24 monitor, DO notice the beautiful bracelet Jeff surprised me with for Valentine's Day! He purchased it from The Nest
I LOVE it!
It happens to be the one I blogged about a few weeks ago and has a "2" on it to remind me "2 Live Purposefully."  It is even more gorgeous than I had imagined! 
Check  The Nest out for more amazing pieces of jewelry! But hurry ... When I returned home, I found out I had also won a giveaway for The Nest hosted by my sweet friend Shannon! 
SWEET!
And I will be shopping for another beautiful piece from The Nest, I'd hate to take something you have had your eye on.

Seems like God always uses these ski trips to grow me in new ways. (sigh)
_________________


“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”   ~Isaiah 55:8-9

Sunday, February 19, 2012

LWB Cleft Surgery Trip 2012

A few weeks ago I came across a Facebook post asking if anyone would be interested in sewing some baby bibs for the LWB cleft surgery trip.
WOW.
How cool would that be?! I love to sew. And I do have a lot of fabric, especially little pieces leftover from skirt and dress projects that would be perfect for bibs.

And yes, even though I do have a few BIG projects that are still in the works, a little thing here or there is such a joy.
I am so excited to be a part of something so wonderful!

Pass a few days by and I somehow ended up on the LWB "surgery needed" site ... and was drawn to a little one with a cleft lip. I posted on her here.
Remember Shannon?
Cute. as. a. button!

I can't say that I put two and two together even for a second though and thought about the bib request and that a bib I make might end up helping Shannon post surgery ... Crazy that I didn't ... but a few days after sponsoring her (in a very small part) that very thought dawned on me.
And the tears came with the thought of what a gift that would be! (to me!)
Sometimes there are the sweetest gifts in the little details aren't there? Like a big ol' hug from God.

And I'm happy to note that Shannon's surgery has since been funded in FULL!
Ya.
IN FULL!!

That is definitely many hearts coming together to make such a big difference for one.
And what a JOY it was to return from a family ski vacation today and find a very special email in my inbox with NEW photos of dear sweet Shannon! Isn't she absolutely beautiful and precious!

So soon that small cleft in her smile will be whole and her sweet smile will be melting so many hearts including her forever family's in new ways! What a gift that she will start healing now and will not have to wait ANY longer.

The LWB surgery fund is making the difference for SO many children ... and for so many families and forever families. If you haven't checked it out, please do.
Love Without Boundaries
I simply cannot wait for the LWB Cleft Surgery Trip in April!!!
Not only for Shannon, but for all the children. It is simply amazing to see their smiles whole and another destination in their journey accomplished with SO many lives touched through the gifts of others working together. Now that is LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13:13

 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Little Pink Snow Shoe

There was once a little pink outfit ... picked out by the hands of someone once called, "Snow Shoe." (long story) ... that would be me.

That outfit traveled many times in search for its little Snow Shoe ... until one day after many years of waiting and waiting, it made a very big trip to the East where it found, "Si Shu." (I kid you not!)
Si Shu=Lydia.

Love 


Applied

Get strong little Lydia so you can have that lifesaving heart surgery! I cannot wait to see YOU even pinker, smiling and growing every day!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Snow and Boys

Recently this Winter ...
With one boy down for a nap,
Left two boys with their dad ...
on a Sunday afternoon ...
with fresh snow ...

hmmm ... maybe that's three boys considering there was fresh snow involved ...


Just having fun of course ...


Or giving Mom a heart attack ... Jury's still out.

Of course they are ALL boy and my concerns were veto'd, smashed, rescinded, relegated to another galaxy.


Thank goodness they have their dad, 'cuz I would NEVER do this ...
and thank goodness they have their mom ... 'cuz I'm praying all the while they're doing this!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ice Fishing Memories

When I married Jeff I was introduced to a whole new world. 
The world of the North Land.

Ice Fishing, Snowmobiles, lots of snow, and hockey.

I still remember the first trip North when we were first dating. Christmas morning he took us down to the lake and stepped right out into the middle to walk over to the neighbor's house. 

I mean, why would you walk the road when the lake is right there? 

WHAT?! ... I will admit that I was more than a bit cautious, stepping out with a toe first, thinking there was no real way that the ice was truly frozen.

Funny ... Easton was the same way this year!

It didn't take long though and he was out there fishing right in the middle of the lake like he'd always been there.
Brayden was a pro too.

And Nolan? There is no photo of him at the edge of the lake because even though he started in the sled I was pulling, he took off running 100 miles ahead of me. 
And in case you've never seen it up close ... here's an auger-ed ice hole. The ice is about 8" thick (at least.) And notice the cracks? That used to worry me ... but apparently that happens when the ice is "growing" in the cold weather as it expands. It makes an eerie sound (a low hoot/groan) in cold weather as it does this.

HOWEVER, it was not cold the week we were up North over Christmas. In fact, it was upper 30's and 40 many of the days. Kinda crazy! (notice the lack of gloves, out of the wind, it was pretty warm! As long as your ears were covered.)

It's amazing that these fish fit through that hole! What a final trip for them!
I can only imagine the stories they must tell their fish-friends when they are caught and released (not the fate for these two big fish however!) 
Hmmm ... that would be a good children's story wouldn't it. Maybe I need to start on that children's storybook line I've always been meaning to write.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

To the Mother With Only One Child

My sister once told me, "there will always be one question that will simply bug the heck outta ya your entire life," ... I'm not sure what our topic of conversation was at the time ... but my buggin' question I think has revealed itself to be the one that comes in response to the fact that I am the mom to 3 boys.

Hmmmm, Three Boys.

I'm not sure if it's the fact that there are 3 or that they are all boys ... or that I'm the one that is blessed to be their mom and they are surprised by that ... I'm just not sure. Maybe they're at a loss of what to say and it just fills the pause? All-in-all, I have to say that our boys are MOST of the time well-behaved, so I can't say it's because they are hanging from the rafters or anything. Regardless, people I know, people I meet in a store or on the street that I totally have no clue who they are and really they have no reason to stop me and comment, whatever, will chime in, "Oh! 3 boys ... I bet you never get to sit down." Or "I sure bet you're busy." Or my personal favorite, "Are you going for the girl?" And those are pretty harmless comments all-in-all. But then there are some like, "enjoy them now because when they marry you'll lose them forever." Someone always wants to rain on someone else's parade.

More than once I have paused and considered our family. My desires, God's gifts, our responsibilities and our blessings.

And there seems to be a common thread that I often hear from friends, one parent would like more children, the other ... mmm ... not so much. Reasons for the latter vary ... and it's an interesting and dangerous conversation all wrapped up into one.

Strangely after the birth of our 3rd son Nolan I found myself doing the "mom count" thing while keeping track of them in a public place. Funny thing was, I always found myself searching on 4 ... I'd laugh to myself, thinking okay, I'm TRULY sleep deprived, I only need to be counting to 3. Part of it I'm sure was being a bit overwhelmed with new motherhood, another part was due to the fact my oldest was at an age (5.5) that he was starting to be responsibly independent ... ie: I could trust that he wouldn't wander off without asking first. So even though I counted "one" ... it didn't quite register as being checked off my mental list. I figured this snafu would fade away ... but it hasn't, I still often count to four. It does make me laugh quietly. Are my math skills really THAT lacking? ...
Maybe it has to do with my first and longest babysitting job was for a family of 4 children ...
Not sure.
Anyway, here's a leap in attempt to segway into something I recently came across. This article just spoke to my heart so much ... on so many levels of motherhood, especially the level of how different motherhood has transitioned me from taking care of one to two to three children. Believe me, I am not a Superhero for having more than one child but also its not for the faint of heart. It is hard at times sharing myself when maybe I'd rather not, the endless fights about who did what and who is "right", trying to be "fair" in everyone's eyes all the while teaching that "life is not fair." I succeed on many levels some days ... and unfortunately fall short on so many more. (But this has to do more with my simply humanness more than the number of children I care for.) I laugh at how many times a new mom will ask me if it was harder to go from 1 to 2 children or from 2 to 3 children ... oh my ... it seriously was hardest to go from zero to 1!

I can identify with nearly EVERY part of Simcha's essay ... especially the part when she talks about a new mom's experience and how "hard" it is to become a mother. I didn't know other mothers experienced things so close to my own account. It was so wonderful at the time to suddenly be thrust into motherhood ... but it hurt ... to loose something of who I was ... and love at the same time what I was becoming ... and also realizing that eventually I would lose this too as they grow away from me.
AND I just love the ending of the essay. It is so true. They are so light and float by you and nudge you like balloons. And when in the last 8 years have I had a trip to the bathroom alone during daylight hours? HA! So I just HAVE to share this article. (Here's the link, but I'm going to tack it on here as well.) Let me prepare you in advance ... the author, Simcha Fisher, has NINE kids.
Enjoy!


To the Mother With Only One Child

 
Dear Mother of Only One Child,
Don’t say it.  Before the words can even pass your lips, let me beg you:  don’t say, “Wow, you have nine kids?  I thought it was hard with just my one!”
My dear, it is hard.  You’re not being a wuss or a whiner when you feel like your life is hard.  I know, because I remember having “only one child.”  You may not even believe how many times I stop and reflect on how much easier my life is, now that I have nine children.
All right, so there is a lot more laundry.  Keeping up with each child’s needs, and making sure they all get enough attention, is a constant worry.  And a stomach bug is pretty much the end of the world, when nine digestive tracts are afflicted.
But I remember having only one child, and it was hard—so very hard.  Some of the difficulties were just practical:  I didn’t know what I was doing, had to learn everything.  People pushed me around because I was young and inexperienced.  But even worse were the emotional struggles of learning to be a mother.
When I had only one child, I truly suffered during those long, long, long days in our little apartment, no one but the two of us, baby and me, dealing with each other all day long.  I invented errands and dawdled and took the long way home, but still had hours and hours to fill before I would hear my husband’s key in the door.
I cared so much what other people thought about her—they had to notice how beautiful she was, they had to be impressed at my natural mothering skills.  I obsessed over childhood development charts, tense with fear that my mothering was lacking—that I hadn’t stimulated her enough,  or maybe had just passed on the wrong kind of genes.  I cringe when I remember how I pushed her—a little baby!—to achieve milestones she wasn’t ready for.
I lived in terror for her physical safety (I once brought her to Urgent Care, where the doctor somewhat irritably diagnosed a case of moderate sniffles) fearing every imaginable disease and injury.  In my sleep-deprived state, I would have sudden insane hallucinations that her head had fallen off, her knees had suddenly broken themselves in the night, and so on.
My husband didn’t know how to help me.  I didn’t know how to ask for help.  My husband had become a father, and I adored him for it.  My husband got to leave the house every day, and sleep every night.  He got to go to the bathroom alone.  I hated him for it.
When I had only one child, I told myself over and over that motherhood was fulfilling and sanctifying and was filling my heart to the brim with peace and satisfaction.  And so I felt horribly guilty for being so bored, so resentful, so exhausted.  This is a joyful time, dammit!  I should enjoy being suddenly transformed into the Doyenne of Anything that Smells Bad.
I loved my baby, I loved pushing her on the swing, watching squirrels at the park together, introducing her to apple sauce, and watching her lips move in joyful dreams of milk.  But it was hard, hard, hard.  All this work:  is this who I am now?  I remember!
So now?  Yes, the practical parts are a thousand times easier:  I’m a virtuoso.  I worry, but then I move along.  Nobody pushes me around, and I have helpers galore.  Someone fetches clean diapers and gets rid of the dirty ones.  When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night for the ten thousandth time, I sigh and roll my eyes, maybe even cry a little bit for sheer tiredness—but I know it will pass, it will pass. 
It’s becoming easier, and it will be easier still.  They are passing me by.
I’m broken in.  There’s no collision of worlds.  We’re so darn busy that it’s a sheer delight to take some time to wash some small child’s small limbs in a quiet bath, or to read The Story of Ferdinand one more time.  Taking care of them is easy.  It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, but when I stop and take a breath, I see that it’s almost like a charade of work.  All these things, the dishes, the diapers, the spills—they must be taken care of, but they don’t matter. They aren’t who I am.
To become a mother, I had to learn how to care about someone more than I did about myself, and that was terrible.  But who I am now is something more terrible:  the protector who can’t always protect; the one with arms that are designed to hold, always having to let go.
Dear mother of only one child, don’t blame yourself for thinking that your life is hard.  You’re suffering now because you’re turning into a new woman, a woman who is never allowed to be alone.  For what?  Only so that you can become strong enough to be a woman who will be left.
When I had only one child, she was so heavy.  Now I can see that children are as light as air.  They float past you, nudging against you like balloons as they ascend.
Dear mother, don’t worry about enjoying your life.  Your life is hard; your life will be hard.  That doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong—it means you’re doing it right.




Isn't that the truth.
Such a joy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

BabyBeBlessed--Free Friday

I'm a BabyBeBlessed lurker ... it's true. 
I'm sure you've seen my posts ... the cute faces ... 
those floppy arms ...
sweet smiles!
And the selection is SO sweet it is impossible not to find something to your liking!
(And there are even more! Boy dolls, animal dolls, Valentine dolls)
And on Fridays ... they have a Free Friday give-away.
Oh my goodness, how do you beat that?!
Well, I've posted and commented pretty regularly and I must say I've come up with some kinda funny comments sometimes. My favorite was sometime last year when I said that if I'd won it would be perfect for a tea party, but that I was sure I'd end up buying several more to complete my tea-party.
Pretty sure that probably scared them ... or maybe they thought I was under the age of 8.

Well, this week ... my comment was simple and plain.
And I was the WINNER!
(big grin)
Did my heart some good at just the perfect moment.
Makes my eyes tear up thinking of how God hears us ... and can fill us even in the little ways that seem like big ways.
I was certain that I had misread the print though. Certainly I was reading "Valentine" from the line above, right? and not "Valerie"?

But ... it read right. **JOY!**




If you are not a follower of Baby Be Blessed, become one. 
Spread the JOY of the Lord by sowing seeds in little hearts. What child would not melt with a little doll with THEIR name and a special chosen Bible verse JUST for them on her tummy?
And come to think of it ... there is no age limit on "child." 

and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.Mark 10:13-16
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.Psalm 127:3-5

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Almquists--Professional Wafflers

We're horrible decision makers ... mainly because we're wafflers.
And we over analyze and research and price-compare and worry.
It's really tiring and inefficient. Really it sucks the joy out of any purchase.

Our latest decision up on the block ... some new plates to replace the ones received from our wedding that are now all chipped, broken and long gone. Who knew Stoneware was so ... breakable?! I guess 12 years is about their lifespan.

And I'm picky I guess. If I'm going to eat on it I don't want to feel woosy looking at the design on my plate. I almost bought a box that was on T@rget super sale Black Friday ... but the colors on it seriously left me just that, woosy. It would have been a great diet plan I guess. But I'm still glad I held off.

Here are the two choices before us right now. Of course there are millions out there and I could be swayed in an instant to something new.

This is MariBeth from Pier1. It's "Ironware" and supposedly 2 steps better than stoneware, yet, one step down from Porcelain. I like this one quite a bit ... but I don't like the bowl for it's deepness. I'll never get more than a couple into our dishwasher I fear. I've thought about getting the plates/mug and then getting some plain off-white/ivory bowls from another set to coordinate.

And then we waffle ...

This is Flo by Corelle. It's Corelle, need I say more? It's pretty super-family-durable. (The cup is stoneware.) But since it's Corelle, it's kinda lightweight feeling and maybe a bit over casual. I know, who cares. The bowl is a little boring ... hey, apparently I have a high bar set for bowls.



And here in lies us waffling again.

Anyone have a favorite they'd like to vote for and sway our opinion ... or even suggest?

The Nest: More Lovely Jewelry

Remember THIS post about the etsy site for The Nest?

Well, if you haven't checked in yet ... you're still in luck, because the selection is better than ever!
Don't miss out! I think many of the styles may be one of a kind??
Today I rustled by there ... and found ... 
my NEW fav.
(sigh) Isn't it lovely?
The blue beads match my eyes beautifully too ...
oh wait ... I don't have blue eyes, but if I did, this is the color blue I would choose.

Remember there is still time to shop before Valentine's Day for your sweetie or yourself or for some gifts ... AND don't forget to get your name in a little contest at:
Throwing Our Arms Open Wide for a chance at something a little lovely for yourself from The Nest!

So head on over and check it out!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheSparrowFund?ref=seller_info

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guests: A Reason For a Clean and Tidy House

We had guests over this weekend. What motivation to get the house cleaned and organized! And let me tell ya, my sewing stuff gets WAY outta hand more than often. SO it was a good thing to be forced to pick it all up, stack it, organize it by color or theme and set it aside.

Of course we had a small SuperBowl gathering on Sunday, but the night before that we also had an impromptu dinner with friends. Jeff's long time roommate during his single years and his wife (who is originally from China) and their 3 year old daughter are soon moving back to China for a few years!

We will certainly miss them. But ... maybe this will be a good excuse for us to go visit! I've always longed to go to China ... and well, here's another good reason. (fingers crossed!) A trip to my favorite foster home in Northern China and then a trip South to Shanghai? Why not? Sounds so perfect. But I'm not sure if I'm running to get my passport issued quite yet. My plans always seem to be a little bit different than how reality plays out. Last time Jeff suggested a trip East with him when he traveled next for work I ran to fill out my passport paperwork the very next day ... and the day after that he was switched to a program for a different country. HA! Go figure.
Anyway ...  back to the story at hand ...

Nolan and Kaitlyn are nearly the same age, and they had a ball together!  

Some of their favorite things were ... Kaitlyn's penguin:

And Nolan's special lego creation:

They worked together to get their animals just right for a photo:

 Cheese! (click):

And the bigger boys' legos:

Showing off their proud items:

Look at that crazy hair ... a day before they finally let me cut it!

Kaitlyn was kinda sweet on Nolan I think:

And Nolan?
He's such a typical guy ... kinda oblivious, more focused on making noises with his mouth.
He did try to impress her with the all time favorite, "air filled puffy cheeks"--little did he know that was MOM's favorite game ... probably not a winner with most girls. ha!
They did have fun in their "fort" though.
 

The family

The family